English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 9: Al-Taubah / Al-Baraat — The Immunity (Revealed at Madinah: 16 sections, 129 verses)

Section 1 (Verses 9:1–9:6): Declaration of Immunity


بَرَآءَۃٌ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ رَسُوۡلِہٖۤ اِلَی الَّذِیۡنَ عٰہَدۡتُّمۡ مِّنَ الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ ؕ﴿۱﴾

9:1 A declaration of immunity from Allah and His Messenger to those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement.1

فَسِیۡحُوۡا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ اَرۡبَعَۃَ اَشۡہُرٍ وَّ اعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّکُمۡ غَیۡرُ مُعۡجِزِی اللّٰہِ ۙ وَ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ مُخۡزِی الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ ﴿۲﴾

9:2 So go about in the land for four months and know that you cannot escape Allah and that Allah will disgrace the disbelievers.

وَ اَذَانٌ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ رَسُوۡلِہٖۤ اِلَی النَّاسِ یَوۡمَ الۡحَجِّ الۡاَکۡبَرِ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ بَرِیۡٓءٌ مِّنَ الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ ۬ۙ وَ رَسُوۡلُہٗ ؕ فَاِنۡ تُبۡتُمۡ فَہُوَ خَیۡرٌ لَّکُمۡ ۚ وَ اِنۡ تَوَلَّیۡتُمۡ فَاعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّکُمۡ غَیۡرُ مُعۡجِزِی اللّٰہِ ؕ وَ بَشِّرِ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا بِعَذَابٍ اَلِیۡمٍ ۙ﴿۳﴾

9:3 And an announcement from Allah and His Messenger to the people on the day of the greater pilgrimage that Allah is free from liability to the idolaters, and so is His Messenger.2 So if you repent, it will be better for you; and if you turn away, then know that you will not escape Allah. And announce painful punishment to those who disbelieve —

اِلَّا الَّذِیۡنَ عٰہَدۡتُّمۡ مِّنَ الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ ثُمَّ لَمۡ یَنۡقُصُوۡکُمۡ شَیۡئًا وَّ لَمۡ یُظَاہِرُوۡا عَلَیۡکُمۡ اَحَدًا فَاَتِمُّوۡۤا اِلَیۡہِمۡ عَہۡدَہُمۡ اِلٰی مُدَّتِہِمۡ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ یُحِبُّ الۡمُتَّقِیۡنَ ﴿۴﴾

9:4 except those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement, then they have not failed you in anything and have not backed up anyone against you; so fulfil their agreement to the end of their term. Surely Allah loves those who keep their duty.3

فَاِذَا انۡسَلَخَ الۡاَشۡہُرُ الۡحُرُمُ فَاقۡتُلُوا الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ حَیۡثُ وَجَدۡتُّمُوۡہُمۡ وَ خُذُوۡہُمۡ وَ احۡصُرُوۡہُمۡ وَ اقۡعُدُوۡا لَہُمۡ کُلَّ مَرۡصَدٍ ۚ فَاِنۡ تَابُوۡا وَ اَقَامُوا الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ اٰتَوُا الزَّکٰوۃَ فَخَلُّوۡا سَبِیۡلَہُمۡ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۵﴾

9:5 So when the sacred months have passed, kill the idolaters, wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush.4 But if they repent and keep up prayer and give the due charity, leave their way free.5 Surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

وَ اِنۡ اَحَدٌ مِّنَ الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ اسۡتَجَارَکَ فَاَجِرۡہُ حَتّٰی یَسۡمَعَ کَلٰمَ اللّٰہِ ثُمَّ اَبۡلِغۡہُ مَاۡمَنَہٗ ؕ ذٰلِکَ بِاَنَّہُمۡ قَوۡمٌ لَّا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ٪﴿۶﴾

9:6 And if anyone of the idolaters seek your protection, protect him till he hears the word of Allah, then convey him to his place of safety. This is because they are a people who do not know.6


  1. This is a declaration of immunity from obligations with such of the idola­trous tribes of Arabia as had repeatedly broken their agreements with the Muslims. They broke their agreements again and again (8:56), yet the Muslims were enjoined to accept peace if the disbelievers consented to it, even after repea­ted violations (8:61). But this state of things could not continue long, for it was soon found that it was impossible to trust such neighbours. This repudiation of agreements took place on a large scale when the Muslims were absent on the Tabūk expedition.
  2. The first thirteen verses of this chapter were publicly proclaimed by Ali on the occasion of the pilgrimage in 9 A.H.
  3. The exception given here makes it clear that the Muslims were not fight­ing with the idolaters on account of their religion, but on account of their having been untrue to their agreements.
  4. The clear exception of the last verse shows that by the idolaters here are meant, not all idolaters or polytheists wherever they may be found in the world, not even all idolaters of Arabia, but only those idolatrous tribes of Arabia assem­bled at the pilgrimage who had first made agreements with the Muslims and then violated them. The order to kill them and to make them prisoners and to be­siege them and ambush them amounts clearly to an order to fight against them, as it is in war only that all these actions are made lawful. (Editor’s Note: The expression “kill them wherever you find them” has also been used in 2:190­–191, where it is also declared clearly: “And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you but do not be aggressive”. Thus “wherever you find them” means wherever you find those who are engaged in fighting against you, after they have been the first to attack you.)
  5. The whole verse relates to certain idolatrous Arab tribes who had broken their engagements with the Muslims, and who had now been apprised of a similar repudiation by the Muslims. They had so often broken their word that they could no more be trusted. Yet, if they joined the brotherhood of Islam, and there was an absolute change in their condition, the punishment which they otherwise deserved could be remitted. It was a case of forgiving a guilty people who had repented. Nothing could be further from the truth than the allegation that this offers to the disbelievers the alternative of either being killed or accepting Islam.
  6. This verse leaves no doubt that the Holy Prophet was never ordered by God to kill anyone on account of his religion. Any idolater seeking the protection of the Muslims in order to learn about Islam was to be granted safe conduct to return home in case he did not think it fit to embrace Islam.